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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys, I have some friends going with me occasionally who have never tuna fished before so I created a guide to help them. They normally use my rods and I run cheap so please look at Specs vs brands to hopefully give new people some good advice. I tie simple knots because I am old, can't see well and at 2am, can't think very well either...

Please provide any other good advice that you would recommend. Some people may not want to buy their own tackle but they can still jig or chunk with the boat rods and even "pop" if they freeline a Yummy or a popper and reel it in quickly for a short time then freeline it again...

Things to bring:

· Sleeping articles (blanket and pillow)

· Personal Hygiene deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, baby wipes

· Bonine or seasickness patches (put one patch on when start the drive)

· Fishing clothes (I wear long sleeve shirt and pants)

· Sun-block

· Sunglasses

· Camera

· Hat

· Medicine (I bring Ibuprofin and Pepto Bismol)

· Gallon of water

· Fish belt with Knife and small hand towel

· We have to buy food from the boat so don't bring any

Buy 1 box of sardines from the boat or local bait shop

Tackle- I recommend three sets of gear. You can go high end with a Stella and a Custom rod or low end with a Spheros and an Ugly Stick based on your budget, preference and probability of divorce…

1. Popping rod 10000 class high gear ratio spinning reel (spheros to stella) on a 7 - 8 ft popping rod. Spool with 50lb braid. Although a topshot is probably not necessary I tie on a 10-12 ft leader of 80lb flourocarbon with a Slim Beauty knot. I tie on a barrel swivel or solid swivel and O ring with a Jansik knot. I use a Stella 8K reel with a 10K spool on a Temple Reef Rod and backup is a Spheros on a OTI custom popping rod.

2. Jigging rod- 8000- 10000 class spinning reel with a 5-6 foot rod spooled with 50-65lb indicator braid and topshot of 80-100lb fluorocarbon with a Slim Beauty knot. I tie on a barrel swivel or solid swivel and O ring with a Jansik knot. I use a Spheros 10K on a Shimano Trevala jigging rod.

3. Chunking/conventional Jigging rod- Conventional reel with capacity to hold 300yards of 65-80lb braid on a 6ft rod. I use an Aleutecnos 8v with with 50-65lb indicator braid and topshot of 80lb fluorocarbon with a Slim Beauty knot. I tie on a barrel swivel or solid swivel and O ring with a Jansik knot. I use a Shakespeare Ugly Stick Tiger lite heavy conventional rod.

Equipment-

You will be bottom fishing on the way out and potentially back. I rig as follows for bottom fishing:

1. Combo 1- I keep the swivel on and either keep a jig on for Mahi or a ling or put a wire hook on for kings if they are running and I want to freeline a sardine

2. I use a chicken rig for beeliner. I do not drop to the bottom, I usually stop about ½ way down then drop a few more feet until I get a bite. Indicator braid comes in real handy for this. If beeliner are not your thing then rig with a speed jig, diamond jig or bucktail. I used to use a snapper slapper when snapper season was longer than 15 min…

3. Single hook Grouper rig. This is the big dog. I put on live bait that we catch the night before and drop it to the bottom then reel up 1 crank and hang on…

We will run until about 2 pm then fish for about 4 hours and hit several spots from 15 min to 1 hour (until the bite slows) for bottom fish. Limits vary by species but are 20 for vermillion snapper (b liner). I start with Combo 3 first to catch the big dogs, then if not go to 2. 1 is something that I have in case mahi or ling show up. We should have a mess of fish 10-20 per person before we head to the rigs. I have caught a limit of beeliner before…

We will then make a run to the tuna rigs for the night. This is my normal set up:

Combo 1- popper or Halco 130- cast out as far as you can, if popper, pop then reel, pop then reel… If Halco, cast, count to five then reel at medium speed stopping once in a while for 3 seconds

Combo 2- jig- drop to 60 then jig up, drop to 100 then jig to 60 then drop to 150 then jig to 100… watch your line, if it stops on the drop (and it will) set the hook. You are in 2000 feet of water. I use primarily speed jigs and herring jigs and there are plenty of sponsors who have amazing jigs to look at.

Combo 3- bare hook for chunk bait or yummee flying fish. If chunking, bury your hook in the bait so tuna cannot see it, throw it in with 5-6 other pieces and freeline quickly to let if float away from the boat. The line will take off from your hand then just engage the reel. If yummee, let it float away, reel in for 15 to create a splash then freeline it more…

Normally what I do is throw swimbaits/poppers first to pick up yellowfin, if not on top then switch to jigs and catch blackfin / yellows and use blackfin for chunk. Jigging and popping wears you out. When I get tired, I chunk to relax and take a breather.

I have caught up to 20 blackfin in a night. I usually only keep the larger ones and use the smaller ones for bait. I caught 3 YFT (limit) and stopped fishing last time so other people could use my gear but could have caught many more because they were there….

Knots to know:

Jansik-

Dropper loop rig (simple one)-

Slim beauty
 

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Something I've learned from long range trips in hot weather is type of clothing. I now go in shorts and shirts that are fast drying. Gone are the board shorts and jeans or Cotten t shirts. I even found polyester underwear made by Simms that dry fast. Besides the constant battle with sweat. I often jump in the shower midday for either a quick shower or just to get soaked so I can cool down. Fishing in hot weather with recently soaked clothing is cooling and dries fast. Also requires less be carried. It's like placing water drenched towel around your neck to lower your body temperature and bring back some comfort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wood Plant Window Twig Beige
My arsenal severely upgraded for this trip...

Stella 8k with 10k spool on temple reef thanks to areyouforreel and hamster1, uglystick and spheros 10k, Socorro 10k on Trevala (bought that in Cabo), Alutecnos 8v thanks to wade fisherman on ugly stick and another 8v thanks to reel stamas on rod I picked up in Cabo. If you don't want to spend a lot, get a spinning combo on a 7ft rod to jig and pop and use the boat rod to chunk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
  1. Milk crates come in handy
  2. I think the best bait is the Halco max 130. Upgrade the split rings and hooks to Owner ST66 or first fish will destroy them. I also included a Magaroni and Smith Baby Runboh (slightly battlescarred and way too expensive)
  3. I like the tuna hunter junior but can't find them so have a variety of poppers.
  4. My jig tray weighs about 100lbs. I use Williamson, Shimano, OTI, Hooked for Life and others...
  5. Not much terminal tackle, either a ball bearing swivel with a split ring or ball bearing snap swivel. Don't get the barrel swivel I am showing unless you cannot help it.
  6. If anyone knows what that last jig is please let me know. A deckhand on the New Buccaneer gave it to me years ago and I caught 14 black Fin that trip. That is all I have, will post pictures if we make it out next week on New Buccaneer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am on the October trip if I don't go to Cabo. I always go with GPB and Captain Matt unless I get lucky and can jump on as a crew on a small boat. I travel a bunch which makes that a challenge.
 

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Scuba there is no best bait, there are baits that worked on most trips, it's not the name or type of bait you should be concerned with but rather the size of the baitfish they are eating at the moment. I've been on trips that poppers out produced everything by far, other trips the smallest of lures would get destroyed while big swimbaits and poppers would not get a fish all night. My personal rules to gom tuna fishing at the floaters:
1. Fish your heart out, you paid a lot of money so try to fish every minute. At some point they will come out and feed. I usually sleep on the way there and next day when we are trolling
2. Make sure you fish the morning bite, you only get one a trip and most times I put a fish on the deck in the last 30 min before sunrise.
3 OPEN YOUR EYES, see what other people are doing, especially the ones that are catching. Don't be afraid to ask and learn, especially if you are new at it.
4. Be friendly, if you have gear and experience please make sure you help the guy that cannot get tight. Most times a little advice and the right bait can help save someone's trip. " go deeper, try using this bait, slow down your retrieve, try casting like this..." can help a new guy get a chance at a yellow and make memories that will last forever. Last trip I saved a young mans trip with a halco 130( it was hot that trip and he didn't have any)
5. Have fun and make friends, I always walk away with great memories and good friends on all my fishing trips. I'm a a generally good mood person and make friends most places
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

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Great info. Another small tip as I saw all your jigs all attached to hooks. Any cheap jigs you buy, throw the included hooks away. Usually junk. No need to rig every jig with hooks either. Buy some quality jigging hooks (or better yet, tie your own) in various lengths. Put them on as needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Another great tip. I usually take one of the hooks off the jig and just use 1 vs 2 more for safety than anything else. Unhooking a 60lb pissed of yellow fin is not fun with a flapping hook. I usually bring extra Halcos so that if the fish is hooked deep I can just cut the line. The shimano flat fall jig hooks seemed to lose more fish than any other hook I have ever used.
 

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Switching trebles for two size larger singles also helps. Although a single single most mate friendly.
 

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gotta tell ya, just don't like how the small Halco fishes with singles.
I've dropped a few fish, & I dont think the wobble is as good.
I could be full of shit, but that's what I think.
ST-66 in 2/o is the perfect hook for the halco 130.
 

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Singles do sometimes reduce the swimming of certain lures. Sometimes it's as simple as matching the weight. With others the trebles themselves add needed resistance to get that kick. I'm sure most know this.
 

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Chewed up jig looks like a RIVER2SEA brand jig.
I don't know the model name.
Probably find it on ebay for sale.
 

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Another great tip. I usually take one of the hooks off the jig and just use 1 vs 2 more for safety than anything else. Unhooking a 60lb pissed of yellow fin is not fun with a flapping hook. I usually bring extra Halcos so that if the fish is hooked deep I can just cut the line. The shimano flat fall jig hooks seemed to lose more fish than any other hook I have ever used.
When targeting tuna in the GOM, we replace our assist hooks on our flat fall jigs with an OWNER treble hooks.
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